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The Delta Optimist 95TH ANNIVERSARY

1922 - 2017

Published every Wednesday & Friday by the Delta Optimist, a division of LMP Publication Limited Partnership 5008 47A Avenue, Delta, BC V4K 1T8 Phone 604-946-4451 Deliveries 604-946-5171 www.delta-optimist.com PUBLISHER:

Alvin Brouwer abrouwer @glaciermedia.ca GENERAL MANAGER:

Dave Hamilton dhamilton @delta-optimist.com EDITOR:

Ted Murphy editor @delta-optimist.com SPORTS:

Mark Booth mbooth @delta-optimist.com REPORTERS:

Sandor Gyarmati sgyarmati @delta-optimist.com Dave Willis dwillis @delta-optimist.com Jessica Kerr jkerr @delta-optimist.com PHOTOGRAPHER:

Gord Goble ggoble @delta-optimist.com SALES REPRESENTATIVES:

John Gallinger jgallinger@ delta-optimist.com Ruth VanBruksvoort rbruks@ delta-optimist.com Christina Borg cborg@delta-optimist.com FEATURES MANAGER:

Bob Ferguson bferguson@ delta-optimist.com SALES SUPPORT:

Linda Calendino lcalendino@ delta-optimist.com DISTRIBUTION:

Katie Engelland 604-946-5171 distribution@ delta-optimist.com Canadian Publications Agreement #212490

Wednesday’s circulation is 16,493

Entire Contents © 2017 The Optimist. All Rights Reserved

Your community newspaper is proud to celebrate 95 years Welcome to the Optimist’s special 95th anniversary magazine. Since being founded by the Dunning family in 1922, this newspaper has chronicled Delta’s transformation from a sleepy village to the bustling and vibrant suburban municipality it is today. Any business that has been around for 95 years, let alone one in an industry that has seen its fair share of changes, has to be doing something right. And the Optimist has been serving Delta readers

well for 95 years. In this special anniversary magazine, we’ve taken a look at this newspaper through the years, from the time that first edition rolled off the press to the people and processes needed to get it to your doorstep today. This magazine also touches on the evolution of both the newspaper and our community as well as on some of the biggest news stories over the last 95 years. I hope you enjoy an inside look at your community

newspaper and a walk down memory lane. ALVIN BROUWER PUBLISHER

Table of Contents Dunnings open Optimist .................................................. Page 4-5 Iconic Edgar Dunning ...................................................... Page 7-8 Cast of characters .............................................................. Page 9 The Bexley years ............................................................... Page 10 Corporate ownership ........................................................ Page 12 Former publishers ............................................................. Page 13-14 Employee reflections ........................................................ Page 16-17 Brouwer takes helm ......................................................... Page 18 Century-old office ............................................................ Page 20 Experienced staff .............................................................. Page 22-23 Step-by-step process ......................................................... Page 24-25 Delivered to your door ..................................................... Page 26-27 Online all the time ........................................................... Page 28 Voluntary subscriptions ................................................... Page 29 Covering the community ................................................. Page 30-31 Industry recognition ........................................................ Page 32 Delta through the years ................................................... Page 33-34 Changing look .................................................................. Page 35 Big news stories ................................................................ Page 36-42 95th Anniversary The Delta Optimist


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Dunnings moved west to open Weekly Optimist Alberta newspaper family accepted Delta Board of Trade’s invitation It was 95 years ago that Vincent Clesson Dunning accepted an invitation from the Delta Board of Trade (the predecessor of the Delta Chamber of Commerce) to start a newspaper to fill the vacancy left after the demise of the Delta Times in 1914. Dunning, trained as a printer in his youth in southern Manitoba, closed the weekly Globe in Barons, 35 miles north of Lethbridge, Alberta, and sold the Sun he had started in Carmangay, 10 miles north of Barons. In January of 1922, he arrived on the West Coast, found the equipment he needed in Vancouver to produce a small newspaper and installed it in the former saloon of the Ladner Hotel, at the corner of today’s 48th Avenue and Delta Street, just a block from where the Optimist has its offices today. The first issue of The Weekly Optimist, published on March 23, 1922, consisted of four pages. About 500 copies were printed. In February of 1923, Dunning announced in the new paper that he was leaving to look after publications he had started in Cloverdale, Langley and White Rock. He turned over ownership of The Optimist to his wife, Gertrude Dunning, whose name appears as publisher in the first issue of March that year. She became the first 4

The Delta Optimist 95TH ANNIVERSARY

GERTRUDE DUNNING SHOWN WITH SONS EDGAR, ERIC AND WILLIAM. female publisher of a B.C. weekly newspaper. Vincent Dunning eventually made his way to California but never returned to Ladner. To reduce costs, the new publisher moved the printing plant and the home she shared with her three sons to a two-storey building beside the Odd Fellows Hall on

Delta Street. Its neighbours were a jewelry store and the Royal Bank of Canada on the north and Craig’s Bakery on the south. The three Dunning boys particularly appreciated the bakery for they could count on getting baked goods that had not been sold. The printing equipment was

installed in the south half of the lower floor with the front part of the north side rented to various businesses. Walter Creech sold real estate there until 1927 when Neil McDiarmid, retired after 26 years as Delta’s municipal clerk, opened a general insurance office in the space. CONTINUED ON PAGE 5

1922 - 2017

Building served as office as well as family home CONTINUED FROM PAGE 4 Other people rented it in the 14 years The Optimist occupied the building. The upper floor provided the Dunning home of three bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and big pantry, but no bathroom. The only toilet for the family was located on the lower floor, which meant a jaunt outside and down the stairs when nature called. The Fenton building was home until 1938, when the Dunnings were able to purchase the former Methodist Church property where the post office is now located. The printing equipment was moved into the church building, which prompted

VINCENT DUNNING STARTED THE OPTIMIST IN MARCH OF 1922 BUT TURNED OVER THE OPERATION TO HIS WIFE, GERTRUDE DUNNING, A YEAR LATER WHEN HE LEFT TO LOOK AFTER PAPERS IN THE FRASER VALLEY. comments from other publishers about expecting high and noble thoughts from the publication, and the Dunnings moved into the

former manse. Edgar, the oldest of the three Dunning boys, officially began work at The Optimist in 1930 after two years in

northern B.C., part of that n employed by the Prince e Rupert R Evening Empire and iits competing newspaper, the Daily News. D T The eldest Dunning boy sserved the paper in many ccapacities over the years, iincluding reporter, editor, p printer and pressman, as w well as bill collector, before eeventually taking over as p publisher in 1942. H He sold part interest in the p paper to Ernie Bexley in 1964 and later divested all his holdings, but rejoined the Optimist family as a columnist in the early 1990s. He continued to write his popular weekly Rambling column until his passing in the fall of 2010 at the age of 100.

Building the Delta community together. GCT Canada and the Delta Optimist have been pillars of the community for 95 years. Since 1907, GCT has been committed to the sustainable growth of the region and fostering prosperity with local hiring and spending practices. Last year, we channeled $24.3 million back into the community through the purchase of local goods and services. Happy birthday, Delta Optimist! We look forward to growing with you for another century.

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Community roots. Community focus. Congratulations Delta Optimist on 95 years!

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The Delta Optimist 95TH ANNIVERSARY

1922 - 2017

Edgar Dunning was part of Optimist family until 100 Icon arrived in Delta as a 12-year-old when newspaper opened in 1922 Edgar Clesson Dunning is a name that will always be synonymous with the Delta Optimist. Born in Elbow, Saskatchewan, on Jan. 7, 1910, Dunning came to Delta as a 12-year-old when his dad, Vincent Dunning, started the Optimist at the invitation of the Delta Board of Trade. Not only was Dunning there at the beginning way back in 1922, but he continued his relationship with the newspaper until passing away in the fall of 2010 at the age of 100. In fact, his last Rambling column, a popular weekly staple of the paper, ran on the day he died. Dunning, who had two younger brothers, Bill and Eric, graduated from King George High School in Ladner. In his younger years, Dunning worked in central B.C. at the Premier Gold Mine before ending up at a newspaper in Prince Rupert. He moved back to Ladner in 1930 to learn the printing business and begin a lengthy career at the Optimist where he served in a variety of capacities. Dunning not only had a long career as a journalist, but he played an important role in the growing community of Delta, founding and supporting a host of organizations.

sshortly after his p passing in 2010. M Mayor Lois Ja Jackson said th those he worked aand spent time w with cherished D Dunning’s jovial, ggood-humoured p personality, and h his personal and intimate knowledge in of Delta’s history o aand ability to sshare it was truly ttouching. ““Edgar’s lifelong dedication to d th the betterment, h heritage and p preservation o of Delta is rremarkable,” Ja Jackson said. D Dunning joined th the B.C. Weekly N Newspapers A Association in 11931 and was its y youngest president. H He also served aas director of the EDGAR DUNNING WAS LOOKING DAPPER AT HIS 100TH Canadian Weekly BIRTHDAY PARTY IN JANUARY OF 2010. DUNNING SERVED Newspapers MANY ROLES AT THE OPTIMIST OVER THE DECADES, Association and INCLUDING COLUMNIST IN HIS LATER YEARS. was chairman of the B.C. Weekly As he grew older and and a wry smile, all matched Newspaper Advertising provided a vital link by a quick wit. Bureau. In 1961 he was to Delta’s past for new “To me, Edgar was just an appointed editor of the generations, he was often absolutely consummate Pacific regional edition of referred to as a “treasure” or gentleman who had an an “icon” and was revered by astounding memory and great CBC Radio’s Neighbourly News, a program that ran for many. Dunning’s razor-sharp talent and commitment to 26 years. memory for historical details his community,” Delta South was accompanied by charm MLA Vicki Huntington said CONTINUED ON PAGE 8 95TH ANNIVERSARY The Delta Optimist


1922 - 2017

Edgar left quite a legacy

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 7 Following the death of Eric in 1971, Dunning assumed the duties of executor of his brother’s estate, which included the Coquitlam Herald and Maple Ridge Gazette, where he was active in managing. Also active in Delta life, Dunning was a former president of the Delta Board of Trade, now the Delta Chamber of Commerce. Dunning was also one of the founding members of the Delta Historical and Museum Society, and its first president when the museum opened with much fanfare in the old municipal hall building in Ladner in 1969. When the Delta Archives moved into the civic precinct, the Edgar


The Delta Optimist 95TH ANNIVERSARY

Dunning Reading Room was created. He was involved with many groups, including the Kinsmen Club of Ladner, which he helped form in 1935, becoming its president four years later. He was named a life member of the club in 1961 and in 2009 received Kin Canada’s highest honour when he was named a Hal Rogers Fellow. He was also one of the founders of the Delta Community Band Society. Dunning married Elsie Maria Bowing (1916-1998) in 1942 and they had two children.


1922 - 2017

Real cast of characters in early days

Over its 95 years, the Optimist has seen its fair share of employees come through the doors. In the fall of 2010, just weeks before his death, longtime newspaperman Edgar Dunning sat down to reminisce about some of the more interesting staff members from the early days of the paper.” The staff always told me how much they enjoyed working at the Optimist during my period,” he said during the interview in his Ladner home/office. “We had some good ones.” The Dunning family arrived in Delta in 1922 at the invitation of the board of trade, which was looking for someone to start a local

newspaper. The community had been without one since the Delta Times folded a few years earlier. Dunning assumed the role of publisher in 1942 following his mother’s death. The staff complement began to grown as the Optimist firmly established itself as one of the leading community newspapers. Still able to remember the names of many employees during his days at the helm, Dunning said many reporters and editors hailed from England and came to Delta to hone their skills. One such former editor, Linton Eccles, became active with the Lower Fraser River Crossing Improvement

Association, a group lobbying for a crossing between Richmond and South Delta. The group’s efforts resulted in the construction of the George Massey Tunnel. Eccles died a few weeks before the 1956 announcement that a tunnel would be built and his ashes were scattered on the Fraser River at the site of the tunnel. One of the most interesting characters Dunning remembered was reporter George Palmer, who left the Optimist in the 1940s to write for the Moscow Daily News in Russia. Saying Palmer, an ardent communist, was a good writer and reporter, Dunning

recalled that as soon as he applied for a passport “all the excitement broke out” at the office. “In those days, anybody applying to work in a communist country alerted the RCMP, so every one of us connected with Palmer at the Optimist was investigated by the police, with Palmer too,” he said. “Eventually he got his passport and worked in Moscow for a couple of years before coming back to Vancouver.” Another memorable staffer was an advertising representative who turned out to be a pyromaniac. He was suspected, but never convicted, of burning down the Delta Community Hall.

Progroup Realty would like to congratulate The Optimist on 95 successful years in Delta! We are pleased to have been a part of this community publication since 1982 and look forward to many more years working together. “Outstanding Agents, Serving our Outstanding Communities”

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The Delta Optimist 95TH ANNIVERSARY

The Bexley family of Beach Grove held control of this newspaper for more than 25 years. In 1964, Ernie Bexley purchased 50 per cent of the shares of the company that published the Ladner Optimist (as the paper was called at that time) plus the option to buy the remaining shares 10 years later. He served as owner and publisher of the Optimist until selling the newspaper to Lower Mainland Publishing Ltd. in 1990. Bexley retired after the sale, enjoying his time on the golf course in Beach Grove and Hawaii. He died in 1998 at the age of 82. In an article for the Optimist’s 70th anniversary in 1992, Bexley said when he arrived in South Delta, the community was generally isolated from the rest of the Lower Mainland. He said the first few years proved difficult as a small population limited the number of pages the newspaper could publish. He pointed to the residential

and commercial growth in Tsawwassen in the early 1970s as the catalyst for the increase in the Optimist’s size. Bexley said the paper grew along with the community. The Bexley years at the Optimist were truly a family affair, with wife Bea, son Peter and daughter Lynn all employed at the paper. With an increase in the number of staff and circulation in the early 1980s, the Optimist office next to the post office on Ladner’s 48th Avenue was no longer adequate. Bexley moved the operation in 1986 to a location it occupied on Ladner Trunk Road until 2006. Bexley was heavily involved in the community during his tenure at the Optimist. He served on Delta council and was president of the Delta Chamber of Commerce and the Tsawwassen and Ladner business associations. He was also a member of the parks and recreation commission, the Rotary Club of Ladner and the Masonic Order.

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1922 - 2017

Optimist part of Glacier Media chain For the better part of seven decades, the Delta Optimist was an independent community newspaper. Founded by the Dunnings, and later owned by the Bexleys, the Optimist was definitely a family-run operation. Then in 1990, it became part of Lower Mainland Publishing Ltd., a company whose two main shareholders were Southam Inc. and the Madison Venture Corp. Lower Mainland Publishing was founded that year, bringing together a diverse group of a dozen Greater Vancouver newspapers under one banner. The chain remained intact while ownership switched


The Delta Optimist 95TH ANNIVERSARY

TSAWWASSEN RESIDENT TOM SIBA SERVED AS OPTIMIST PUBLISHER FROM 1991 TO 2001 AND THEN AGAIN FROM 2012 TO 2014. over the years, going from Hollinger to Canwest and then to Postmedia before

being acquired by current owner, Glacier Media Group. The Optimist continues as

part p of that chain, which has h been reorganized through t a series of sales and acquisitions. a Although A the Optimist is part p of a larger entity, the newspaper n maintains its autonomy a and small town feel. f The chain’s head office, which w is in Vancouver, provides p direction and co-ordination, c but leaves the day-to-day operations to the d publishers of the individual p newspapers. n The T other newspapers in the t chain are: Bowen Island Undercurrent, Burnaby Now, New Westminster Record, North Shore News, Richmond News, Tri-City News, Vancouver Courier and the Westender.

1922 - 2017

Publishers lead team at the Optimist The Optimist has a longstanding tradition of excellence and strong leadership. The publishers who have led this newspaper over the years are considered to be some of the best in the business. Tom Siba, who served as publisher on two occasions, was involved with the Now/ Times group of community newspapers in the 1980s. The group had papers in Burnaby, Coquitlam, New Westminster and Surrey/ North Delta and was working to expand — primarily through acquisition — but would consider start-ups if necessary. One of the missing pieces was a publication in South Delta.


idea of having a newspaper where I lived was very

a attractive,” recalls Siba, a long-time Tsawwassen rresident. “We approached tthe Bexley family to buy the Optimist. They were not O interested i in selling. So in 1989, 1 we started up the South D Delta Today. “Several “ current staff members m were there a quarter century ago when the q merged product began. Dave m Hamilton and John Gallinger H were there from the original w llaunch of the South Delta T Today.” Siba S also hired former Optimist owner and O publisher Edgar Dunning to write a column for the South Delta Today when he was 79 years old. CONTINUED ON PAGE 14














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95TH ANNIVERSARY The Delta Optimist


4814 Haviland, Ladner Village


1922 - 2017

Publishers keep paper connected to community

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 13 A couple years after the launch of the Today, there was a restructuring of ownership of publications in the Lower Mainland and the Optimist and Today ended up in the same pot. Shortly thereafter, the products were merged and Siba was appointed publisher of the combined operation in 1991. He was publisher of the Optimist until 2001 when he left to take the same position at Business in Vancouver. He retired from BIV Media Group in 2010, but went back to the Optimist for a couple of years in 2012 to aid in the transition to new owners. “It was great being active at the Optimist again, but not as good as being retired,” Siba

EDGAR DUNNING TALKED HISTORY WHILE FORMER PUBLISHER RANDALL TAYLOR (CENTRE) LOOKED ON. jokes. After Siba left the first time, Randall Taylor took on the role, coming to Delta from the Chilliwack Times. Taylor served as publisher for half a dozen years before moving to Vancouver Island where

he’s now in commercial real estate. Lori Chalmers was Taylor’s successor. Having worked in much larger cities, she says she was very impressed with the cohesiveness of the South Delta community.

“Every “ time I went to the office o in Ladner, I felt like I had h stepped back in time,” Chalmers recalls. “I know the C ccommunity faced big issues, tthe way every city does, but iit did seem like everyone ggenuinely cared and so many knew each other. I was also k iimpressed with the role that tthe Optimist played in the community. c It had its finger on o the pulse of what was happening h and the paper really reflected the essence of the community.” She says her first day on the job was special as Dunning made a point to visit. When Chalmers left in 2012, Siba returned for a couple of years before current publisher Alvin Brouwer assumed the helm.

Congratulations on 95 years! BC Liberal Candidate Ian Paton salutes the Delta Optimist on its 95th anniversary Congratulations to the Delta Optimist on turning 95 this year! It’s amazing how fast time goes. I have lived in Delta my whole life. I grew up and continue to work on my family farm in East Ladner. I love Delta. This area has given so much to my family. Now, more than ever, we need strong local representatives. After two terms as a municipal councillor, and a lifetime as Delta farmer, I believe I have the experience, leadership skills, and common sense necessary to represent our community in Victoria. On May 9th, I’m asking for your vote, so I can fight in the Legislature for the future we deserve. For more information on our PLAN visit: www.IanPatonDelta.ca

Fighting for DELTA. Working for You.

IAN PATON 604-644-3497 Ian.Paton@BCLiberals.com

Authorized by Pip Steele, Financial Agent for Ian Paton, BC Liberal Candidate | 604-323-4422


The Delta Optimist 95TH ANNIVERSARY

Proud to ser ve Delta! Mayor Lois E. Jackson and Delta Council are proud to serve the public by working together with residents and businesses to ensure that Delta remains a wonderful place to live, work and play.

To learn all what Delta has to offer, visit Delta.ca

A Voice for Our Community Westshore Terminals congratulates the Delta Optimist on 95 years of business success As the voice for our community for decades, the Optimist is an important part of our community fabric, sharing the news and information that matters to all of us who live and work here. Operating responsibly with a commitment to protect the environment, Westshore Terminals is a proud member of the Delta community.

95TH ANNIVERSARY The Delta Optimist


1922 - 2017

Former staffers share their memories The Optimist has been a great place to work for many people over the years. Maureen Gulyas worked as a reporter for close to two decades. Gulyas says one overall observation from her time at the paper was that she was always impressed at the level of community engagement residents showed in South Delta. “People really care about their community there and that’s what I learned when I was a reporter,” she says. Specific memorable experiences for her were covering big Burns Bog fires, getting to fly around in a helicopter to survey the area in one instance, and being

MAUREEN GULYAS, WHO NOW WORKS FOR THE RCMP, IS A FORMER OPTIMIST REPORTER. driven into the middle of the scene by firefighters as they worked to put out another blaze. Another occasion saw her take a helicopter trip, this time with police, as officers

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Lifelong reader Sometime writer And new subscriber

busted a marijuana field in the middle of the bog. She left the Optimist in 2008 and after a brief stint at Delta municipal hall, Gulyas is now a civilian member with the

R RCMP and enjoying her role i communications. in P Roe remembers the Pat Optimist as a great place to O work. w ““It was a really, really good place to work. It was a lot of p ffun, everybody got along. It rreally was like one big happy ffamily,” says Roe, who spent 220 years at the paper. Her roles included accounts H rreceivable, collections, data iinput and sales support. R Roe says when she arrived in late 1990 there were already quite a few longterm employees on staff, something she thinks speaks volumes for a company. Since retiring she has kept busy with lots of travelling. CONTINUED ON PAGE 17

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The Delta Optimist 95TH ANNIVERSARY

1922 - 2017

Fond recollections of time spent at the Optimist CONTINUED FROM PAGE 16 Angela Nottingham says one of her fondest memories during her decade working at the paper was job sharing with current sales representative Ruth VanBruksvoort. Nottingham, responsible for selling and designing ads and creating special sections for her territories of Ladner and Point Roberts, was coming back to work from maternity leave in the late 1990s when the job share took place. “I liked the freedom of being with my family and the balance of working. I enjoyed my job at the Optimist very much. I was glad not to have to give that up,” she says. VanBruksvoort notes they

ANGELA NOTTINGHAM (LEFT) AND RUTH VANBRUKSVOORT SHARED A SALES REP POSITION. were longtime friends who had worked together previously. Nottingham has moved on to the field of fire safety with Vancouver Fire and Radius Security. Marlyn Graziano joined the paper after it was merged

with the South Delta Today, where she had started as a reporter in 1989. “I was always struck by the passion that all my colleagues had for their work and for the communities they served,” she says. After various positions

MARLYN M ARLYN GRAZIANO IS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS AT KWANTLEN. in journalism, including publisher of the Surrey Now, Graziano left the newspaper business in 2013 to join Kwantlen Polytechnic University, where she’s now executive director of external affairs.

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1922 - 2017

Brouwer leads hometown paper

Alvin Brouwer assumed the role of publisher at the Optimist in 2015, but has been with Glacier Media, which owns the Optimist, since 2012 as the president of Lower Mainland Publishing. Brouwer is also publisher of the Vancouver Courier and past publisher of the New Westminster Record and Burnaby Now. While proud of all of Glacier Media’s titles, Brouwer said he is especially pleased to be a part of the Optimist. A resident of Tsawwassen, the Optimist is his hometown newspaper, which he says makes being publisher more meaningful. “You can see the direct effect of what we do on

our neighbours and the conversations are just a little closer and I think that’s how community newspapers work,” he said. “I think the Optimist is one of the finest newspapers in the entire country, let alone the Lower Mainland and British Columbia. The fact that we have been nominated this year for a general excellence award in our circulation class speaks partially to that, but in my role as president of LMP, I deal with other newspaper chains across the country and see the products on a regular basis. I think ours is as good or better as any of them. Our content is right on the mark and all 100 per cent produced locally. Our mandate and our

mission continues to be local first and we are fulfilling that mandate.” Brouwer said there is high community engagement with the newspaper, which helps to contribute to the overall strength of the product. “We have developed a really good trusted brand and as things change we will change with it. If you look online we constantly change our content. You can get our content anyway you want — delivered to your door twice a week or you can look at it on your computer, smartphone or tablet anytime you want,” he said. “We do a great job covering news, events, sports — all the things that happen here.

TSAWWASSEN RESIDENT ALVIN BROUWER IS PUBLISHER OF THE DELTA OPTIMIST. “Can we do better? For sure and I’m always interested in hearing from our readers on what we can do better, but I think we are doing a great job putting out a quality product both in print and online and we will continue to do so for many years to come.”

Best Wishes for another 95 Years of Success!


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J’s Electrical was formed over 15 years ago, by long-time Delta residents, Darren and Shawn. Their main objective was to provide customers with honest, reliable work provided by qualified, technicians. Family is important to both owners and they wanted to reflect that in the name of their company. Using the initials of their daughters, Amanda, Jenna and Samantha, is how AJ’s Electrical was created.

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The Delta Optimist 95TH ANNIVERSARY

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1922 - 2017

Optimist in century-old church It’s a fitting home for a newspaper that’s 95 years young. In the summer of 2015, the Optimist office moved a couple of blocks south into the historic former home of the Ladner Baptist Church. The century-old building at the corner of 47A Avenue and Delta Street is a landmark Gothic Revival-style structure that has survived in substantially original condition. Beginning in 1896 and for its first few years of existence, a Baptist congregation gathered at the town hall in Ladner on Elliott Street. In 1902, a lot was purchased from William Ladner for the sum of $300 and volunteers

began constructing a building. The exterior was completed in 1902, but the interior wouldn’t be finished until a year later. The steeple was completed in 1913 and the building would see a couple of other additions over the years. In 1945, a small house was purchased and moved onto an adjacent lot. That house was used as a parsonage for some years, but townhomes now occupy the site. By the end of the 1960s, the entire congregation had packed up and moved to a new building in Ladner, but the quaint old church on 47A Avenue would stand the test of time. The building housed a


community arts and crafts centre for a while in the early 1970s and later a pre-school. In 2003, former owner Dr. Norman Gregory received a heritage conservation award from Delta for his preservation efforts when the building housed a Montessori school. Two years ago, Steve Knoblauch received a Delta Heritage Award of Merit for the restoration and adaptive re-use of the building. Last year the former church was also recognized by Heritage B.C with an award, which recognizes best practices and high standards in heritage conservation. Although it’s now home to a community newspaper,

THE OPTIMIST OFFICE IS LOCATED IN THE OLD LADNER BAPTIST CHURCH BUILT IN 1902. and the interior has been somewhat modified to accommodate the Optimist, many heritage features have been maintained, including the hardwood flooring and stained glass.

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The Delta Optimist 95TH ANNIVERSARY


DELTA HOSPITAL AUXILIARY “Supporting Healthcare in Delta since 1969” Delta Hospital Auxiliary Registered Charity number is... 13952-5596 RR001

to Delta Optimist and their team on celebrating their 95th Anniversary! Delta Optimist has always been an excellent source of community information and because of their support it has enabled Delta residents to help make impossible ideas possible.

In 1969 Lila Massey and a team of local supporters decided that Delta residents needed a hospital and with the support of Delta Optimist they were able to inspire residents on a regular basis and move forward to achieve their goal. In 1977 Mountain View Manor was opened and in 1980 the Acute area of Delta Hospital was opened. Communications has been a major tool in improving the healthcare of Delta residents and will continue to encourage the residents to give their support whenever it is needed. On behalf of the Delta Hospital Auxiliary Society, thank you for your support & we look forward to many more years of working together.

AUXILIARY COUNCIL FUNDS PRIORITY EQUIPMENT FOR DELTA HOSPITAL 2017-18 At the March Auxiliary Council meeting Council voted to approve $408,350 in unfunded priority equipment requested by Delta Hospital and Fraser Health. We are especially excited to provide funds for the Mini C-Arm so useful in surgeries. Equipment approved as follows: Critical Care/PF Lab: .....................Endoscope/Bronchoscope..................................... 1....................................$40,000 Critical Care/PF Lab: .....................Video System/Bronchoscope................................. 1....................................$75,000 Med. Imaging/OR: .........................Radiographic Unit/Mini C-Arm............................... 1....................................$96,000 Medicine/Med 2............................Hi-Low Bed .......................................................... 4 @ $3,500 ...................$14,000 Medicine/Med 2............................Geri-Chair............................................................. 1....................................$5,400 Rehab/Physio................................Ultrasound/Pain Relief........................................... 1....................................$8,000 Residential/ECU ............................Bed Alarms/Fall Mats............................................ 5 @ $1,000 ...................$5,000 Surgery/Amb. Care .......................Pump/Syringe Conscious Sedation........................ 1....................................$4,550 Surgery/OR ..................................Endoscope/Colonoscope Video.............................. 1....................................$25,200 Surgery/OR...................................Endoscope/Colonoscope Video.............................. 1....................................$25,200 Surgery/OR...................................Endoscope/Gastroscope ....................................... 1....................................$35,000 Surgery/OR...................................Gyne/Fluid Management System .......................... 1....................................$30,000 Surgery/OR...................................Endoscope /Bronchoscope for Intubation .............. 1....................................$23,000 Surgery/PACU ...............................Blanket Warmer ................................................... 1....................................$9,000 Owing to urgency, Council had previously approved a Cast Saw with Cart and Accessories and a Mobile Workstation for the Cast Clinic for a total of $13,000 which were on this Unfunded List as well, bringing the total to $408,350.00. Awesome!

5800 Mountain View Blvd., Delta, B.C. • Tel: 604-946-1121 local 783212 • deltahospitalauxiliary.org 95TH ANNIVERSARY The Delta Optimist


1922 - 2017

Staffers have a wealth of experience The Optimist doesn’t have a large staff but the dedicated team of a dozen or so has somewhere north of 200 years of combined service. That experience has allowed the newspaper to build up a loyal following and a high level of trust within the community. General manager Dave Hamilton says having so many long-standing staff members has been a major key to the Optimist’s success. “When you have that amount of years with the same paper, you have a valued and trusted team in the eyes of the community,” he says. “Community newspapers by definition are all about the community, so the more


Volunteering, why do it? It is a question my eldest son asked a few weeks ago, “Dad why do you and Mum bother volunteering, you are getting on now (60) and need to enjoy your life a bit.” How nice to be reminded of these milestones! So, I started to think about why my wife and I volunteer like we do. In fact, volunteering has now spread to most of our children. One’s natural instinct is to sit at home, watch the TV and put your feet up after a hard day at work; to do one’s own thing not worrying about others outside our own small world. After all, do we not pay enough in taxes to cover all the wants of society? So, I did some research on the reason people like to volunteer and I was surprised to find that those reasons are largely self-centered. The benefits to the volunteer are huge. The trick is to get potential volunteers to take that initial step and get past inward-looking thoughts and naval gazing and start volunteering. After one starts volunteering it does not take long to realize the following: 4 good selfish reasons why one should volunteer. 1. You feel good about yourself and have a more stable mindset, when you give of your time to others. 2. You learn more and develop a better understanding of the world. 3. Depending on what you volunteer for, you may stay fitter, increase your mental capabilities or learn to push yourself. 4. Research shows that one tends to live much longer and in better health when they are active in their old age. (remember the number 60?? my son does) Family reasons 1. Research shows that youth who volunteer are much less likely to get involved with drugs and the over use of alcohol. Because they feel better about themselves they are less likely to look to drugs or alcohol to feel good! They also have more self-confidence which empowers them to say ”NO” at times when peer pressure is saying” YES”. 2. My family is one of the reasons I volunteer for a drug and alcohol recovery house, to demonstrate to my children that the issues of excessive alcohol use result in terrible outcomes. I feel it has worked, steering them away from over use of alcohol. Major Financial returns Personal Research also demonstrates that the happiness and contentment amongst volunteers has a financial benefit that increases the more you volunteer. The research shows that a person who volunteers once a week feels experiences a happiness equal to about an extra $40,000.00 per year. The cost benefit to society When looking around the world at different countries one sees that the number of hours volunteered are equivalent to anything from 6% to 11% of GDP. That is enormous! We spend about 12% of our GDP on health care. If we add all the volunteering together it is almost equal to the health industry! When we have young people volunteering rather than partying all the time we will have reduced policing costs, reduced drug and alcohol rehab costs, and a happier, more satisfied, and in some cases fitter youth. Here are 2 not so selfish reasons 1. You help develop a better world which is great for the community. 2. You are helping others less fortunate than you. You may also do this for religious reasons. So, get out there and volunteer, in anything, in any way. It will help make this a better world, and more importantly, you a better person. This was paid for by the O’Sullivan Family of Delta, B.C. and P W Trenchless Construction Inc.

write about the community. The longer they are with that

p paper, the better contacts and cconnections they have in the ccommunity, the likelihood ttheir contacts will be more u up front with them and o overall the better relationship tthey will have.” T The five full-time members o of the editorial department h have a combined 90-plus y years telling the stories tthat have helped shape the ccommunity. E Editor Ted Murphy and ssports editor Mark Booth h have both been at the Optimist for three decades, O while reporters Sandor w Gyarmati, Dave Willis and Jessica Kerr have been around for 13, 11 and nine years, respectively. CONTINUED ON PAGE 23


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The Delta Optimist 95TH ANNIVERSARY


Staffers have built relationships with community CONTINUED FROM PAGE 22 The sales department also has a wealth of experience with longstanding sales reps Bob Ferguson, John Gallinger and Ruth VanBruksvoort combining for close to 90 years of service. “It is easy to build relationships with such strong existing staff because they [our readers] trust

you,” says Hamilton, who is another three-decade employee. “Our readers trust the job that Ted and the rest of the staff have done over the years.” Linda Calendino, who provides sales support, has been with the Optimist for 10 years, while distribution supervisor Katie Engelland, sales rep Christina Borg and


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distribution assistant Maggel Du Plessis are more recent additions to the staff. Gord Goble has been providing top quality photos for the past five years. Staff members have been heavily involved in the community over the years, volunteering with sports and arts groups, the chamber of commerce, Rotary and other

causes. “A lot of these groups and causes that we have all been a part of certainly provide a lot of joy and personal satisfaction,” says Hamilton. “It also helps to build relationships and credibility along the way. I think our paper and the people who work at it have a lot of respect for the community.”

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1922 - 2017

Step-by-step process produces paper Here’s a look at the process it takes to create each issue of the Optimist: • Everything that appears on the pages of the paper can basically be broken down into two categories: advertising and editorial content. Sales staff work with clients on ads while an editorial team generates stories and photos. Sales reps gather copy, artwork, logos, etc. and a sales support staff member uploads the material to a design company. Once ads are booked, a “dummy” is put together. The dummy is essentially a blueprint of where each ad goes and how much editorial space is available on each page. • Reporters gather

JOHN GALLINGER DISCUSSES ADVERTISING WITH SCOTT HARRIS, OWNER OF HARRIS NURSERYLAND. information by attending meetings or events as well as conducting interviews and research to write stories. An editor gives assignments to reporters and a freelance photographer while a sports

editor covers local teams and athletes. • The editor edits finished stories, letters, columns and press releases as well as writing a column for each issue. The text and photos are

llaid out page-by-page with h headlines, sub-headlines and ccaptions. Pages are printed aand proof read. • Once ads are returned ffrom the design company, a p proof is sent to the client for aapproval. It might go back a few times until it is good tto use. Finished editorial p pages and approved ads are ccombined and sent to Kodiak P Press for printing. • The prepress department checks the files for correct image size and colour and then drops the pages into the correct configuration for the press. Electronic files are then burned onto aluminum plates with a laser and attached to a cylinder for the press. CONTINUED ON PAGE 25


Congratulations Delta Optimist

The next show ‘Embracing South Delta’ will feature art by SDAG members to be juried for selection to appear in next years Rotary Calendar The show runs from April 6 - 30 2017 Opening Reception Friday April 7, 5 - 8pm

for serving businesses and residents of Delta for over 95 years! And, thank thank you you And, for our relationship for your ongoing support. over all those years.

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The South Delta Artists Guild’s own permanent fine art gallery, is located in Tsawwassen. A non profit organization, the SDAG has operated for over 40 years and is open to all visual artists. Members meet like minded individuals while improving their art skills through workshops, courses, and regular drop in groups.


The Delta Optimist 95TH ANNIVERSARY

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6201 60th Avenue, Avenue, Delta, Delta, British British Columbia Columbia V4K 4E2 4232 fax: email: phone: 604 946 4232 604admin@deltachamber.ca 946 5285 Visit us online: www.deltachamber.ca email: admin@deltachamber.ca DeltaChamberofCommerce ExperienceDeltaBC Visit us online: www.deltachamber.ca


1922 - 2017

Press turns plates into newsprint

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 24 • Eventually the image is transferred onto newsprint. The sheet of newsprint is split into two, folded and then trimmed off into a tab size paper. The trimmed papers are run through a stacker, counted, bundled and then stacked onto skids. • Papers are taken to a bindery for flyer insertions and then trucked to a warehouse. Drivers deliver the papers to carriers’ homes as well as apartment buildings. Carriers, both children and adults, deliver the paper to homes and businesses.


We are proud to be part of Delta since 1983! Congratulations Delta Optimist Tsawwassen Optometry Clinic, and On Your Dr. Joan Hansen, opened in 1983. Dr. Giulia DeVuono joined the clinic in First 95 Years! 2003, followed by Dr. Sara Kirby in 2012. We are proud to be a community-based clinic, with a combined staff total of 217 years living in Delta. We invite you to become a part of the Tsawwassen Optometry Clinic family. Contact us to book your next appointment, or stop by the clinic to say hi.

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1922 - 2017

Carriers get 17,000 copies to doorstep Getting the Optimist distributed throughout South Delta twice a week is a big operation. There are many steps to a process that includes effort between cooperating parties, critical timing and many employees with a range of different skills, explains distribution supervisor Katie Engelland. The papers are printed in Vancouver the day before each issue date and mechanically stuffed with flyers, strapped into bundles and manually stacked on skids, which are then trucked to a warehouse by

late evening. Five drivers then load papers into their vehicles and work through the night delivering them to carriers’ homes and apartment buildings. Over 140 carriers deliver 17,050 copies of the Optimist twice a week. The majority of papers are delivered door-todoor to single-family homes while 2,400 are delivered to apartments, and another 1,550 go to local businesses. Muriel Wells is one of the 30 adult carriers who deliver the Optimist. She got started by helping her kids on their paper routes. CONTINUED ON PAGE 27

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The Delta Optimist 95TH ANNIVERSARY

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1922 - 2017

Both students and adults deliver the paper CONTINUED FROM PAGE 26 “As they moved on, I found that I was sort of missing doing the papers, so I started getting routes myself,” she says. Wells, who enjoys the exercise and talking to those she sees along the way, usually does three routes in Ladner. Michael Boyce is another adult carrier. Retired now after spending many years working the graveyard shift as a Canada Post employee, Boyce delivers the Optimist during the night. “As soon as I get the papers, I go right out and do my walk,” he says, explaining that he wants to make sure readers have the paper first

GRADE 7 STUDENT TAYLOR KATSUBE DELIVERS HER ROUTE AFTER SCHOOL. thing in the morning. Taylor Katsube has been delivering the Optimist for

the past five months. The Grade 7 student delivers her Ladner route after she’s done

school s and says she likes meeting m new people. B Clarke, a carrier for Ben a about a year and half in T Tsawwassen, echoes that sentiment in that he also s likes meeting new people l while he’s out delivering. w T 14-year-old South Delta The S Secondary student began d delivering the paper after t taking on a route a couple of his h friends at the end of his block had before moving. b The T average size of a route is just over 70 papers while the j largest door-to-door route is l n nearly 140 papers. If you’re interested in becoming a carrier, call or email Katie at 604-9464451 or kengelland@deltaoptimist.com.

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Get news 24/7 from Optimist website You’ll find a whole lot more than just local news on the Optimist website. Our online home has all the editorial content of the print edition in addition to breaking news stories, photo galleries, special sections, extra letters and more. A collection of blogs can also be found on the Optimist site. Bloggers, including master gardener Kristin Crouch, pest control professional Randy Bilesky and Delta Naturalists Society president Tom Bearss, cover a range of topics. The Vancouver Courier’s Pass it to Bulis blog, which covers the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, can also be found on the Optimist website. The Press Play Network’s

stable of podcasts podcasts, the Practical Geek and Stream Queens, can be streamed or downloaded from our site as well. Those looking for some “terrifying tales” can

check out our free free, weekly illustrated novel Maple Leaf Zombies, which is written by the Optimist’s own Sandor Gyarmati. The action-packed zombie tales offer a myriad of twists, turns and surprises.

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Readers can also have their say on local matters via an online opinion poll. There is also an option to sign up for an e-Newsletter, which sends stories straight to your inbox. The website includes digital versions of the flyers as well as a PDF version of the entire paper where readers can click through page by page. The Optimist’s website can be found at www.deltaoptimist.com.

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The Delta Optimist 95TH ANNIVERSARY

1922 - 2017

Voluntary subscriptions offered

A great deal has changed in the media landscape since the first edition of the Optimist was published in 1922, particularly in the last decade or so, but this publication is committed to continuing to provide value to both the community and to everyday lives. “The Optimist goes far deeper than just as a purveyor of the news: We facilitate the exchange of opinions and we’re a vehicle that allows local businesses to interact with their customers and organizations to make contact with the public. We’ve also been a proud supporter of a great many community events for almost 100 years. We are part of the fabric of

South Delta and we take that responsibility seriously,” says publisher Alvin Brouwer. However, challenges facing community newspapers, including high production and distribution costs, have put substantial pressure on delivering much valued free community news publications to the doorstep. To help offset that pressure, Brouwer announced a voluntary subscription service in 2016 whereby South Delta residents can contribute a minimal amount to help ensure they’ll continue to receive the community news they need and deserve. “Voluntary subscriptions will also allow us to improve the quality of the Optimist,

ensuring South Deltans get even more information about the goings on in their community,” says Brouwer. A voluntary payment of $5 per month, or $50 for the year, will allow us to maintain door-todoor delivery, which is an increasingly expensive undertaking and a major cost for any newspaper. This is entirely voluntary and all South Delta households will continue to receive the Optimist at their doorsteps. General manager Dave Hamilton says since voluntary subscription was introduced last June, there’s been a lot of support from readers. A lot of people phoned or came into the





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. 95TH ANNIVERSARY The Delta Optimist


1922 - 2017

Exposure for groups, events Whether it’s through advertising or editorial content, the range of events and groups that receive support from the Optimist is impressive. From the Delta Hospital Foundation and Delta Hospital Auxiliary to Reach, Deltassist and the Delta Chamber of Commerce, there are all kinds of community organizations that turn to the Optimist to share their message. “Certainly we need the advertising and the revenue from these groups and organizations purchasing space in the paper, but we also understand what comes with being a part of the community, so we will

support things that these groups and organizations do,” says Optimist general manager Dave Hamilton. The Optimist runs articles, press releases, event listings, photos and ads to keep readers up to date on the goings on with local groups and also publishes special sections throughout the year on large community events, including the Tsawwassen Sun Festival, Ladner Pioneer May Days, Tour de Delta and the Boundary Bay Airshow. “In a community of this size, this is really the only media outlet. We have Delta Cable and I don’t want to take anything away from them and what they do, because they do a lot as well, but

when you look at content that is easily available to the community, we are it,” adds Hamilton. “If we want to be a complete community newspaper, we can’t just go out and say we want your money. Being a community newspaper is more than just collecting money from your advertisers and putting newsprint out on the street.” The power and reach within the community the Optimist has makes a difference, according to representatives of local community groups. “Since the humble beginning of the Delta Hospice Society 25 years ago, the Optimist has been there every step of the way. We depended solely

DELTA HOSPICE SOCIETY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR NANCY MACEY SAYS THE OPTIMIST HAS BEEN WITH THE GROUP EVERY STEP OF THE WAY FOR THE LAST 25 YEARS. upon stories and community listings as there were very little funds available for advertising,” says executive director Nancy Macey. CONTINUED ON PAGE 31

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The Delta Optimist 95TH ANNIVERSARY

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1922 - 2017

Groups rely on Optimist to spread their message

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 30 “In those early days, people would not use the word ‘hospice’ out of anxiety and fear of the unknown future and what that would be like. The Optimist partnered with us to help increase awareness and sensitize people to seeing the written word used in a compassionate and caring way. “The Optimist has always been willing and ready to print an article, take a picture or interview someone who would tell their story about their experience.” Delta Gymnastics Society executive director Ana Arciniega says sports are such

a huge part of the fabric of South Delta and without the Optimist she wonders who would be there to record the successes of local athletes. “For recognizing athletes in whatever pursuit they are in, it is important to set them up for success in their chosen sport, but also in life, so to me that recognition is bigger than just us,” she says. And in times of need or tragedy, Arciniega points out the Optimist has always been there. “In 2002 when we had our fire, the community rallied around us and that support was because of the Optimist,” she says. “The newspaper is

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the voice of the community.” For arts groups like the South Delta Artists Guild, without the newspaper it would be extra challenging to let the community know what they’re all about. “We utilize the Optimist as our source for advertising, but in turn we receive tremendous support editorially as well,” says artist Rod Winning. “The free press, event articles,

notices in the community events, without that it would be much harder getting the word out about our shows and what we do. “I’ve often had something published in the Optimist and someone comes up to me at church or the grocery store and said they saw the article in the paper, so that’s just raising awareness in the community and does show the power of the newspaper.”

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95TH ANNIVERSARY The Delta Optimist


Optimist has accumulated many awards over years

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Over its 95-year history, the Delta Optimist has received countless awards and recognition for its work from a variety of industry organizations. The Optimist and its staff have received numerous awards from the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA), the B.C./Yukon Community Newspapers Association (BCYCNA) and Suburban Newspapers of America (now known as the Local Media Association), including winning the General Excellence (top overall newspaper) award from both the B.C. and Canadian associations.

Last month, the Optimist was named one of three finalists in its circulation class in General Excellence by the BCYCNA, which will announce the winner at a gala next month. In recent years, the Optimist has received awards for Best Front Page and Best Christmas Edition, while editor Ted Murphy has been recognized in the Outstanding Columnist category and reporter Sandor Gyarmati has been honoured in the Best Agricultural Story category. The Optimist is routinely awarded a Blue Ribbon by the CCNA for overall excellence.




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1922 - 2017

Delta was different place back in 1922 When the Optimist was born in 1922, Delta was community of 3,500 that lived off the Fraser River, Chilukthan Slough and the land surrounding the waterways. Fish canneries were abundant in the early ‘20s because of the large numbers of sockeye salmon in the Fraser. And even though the number of cases being shipped from local canneries was declining rapidly by 1922, they still employed a large number of the municipality’s residents. Farming was the other large industry of the era. Delta’s fertile soil attracted many people to the area, and by 1922 the farms stretched from the Fraser to East Delta.

Museum up The area north of M until recently. Westham Street u The roads in (now 48th Avenue), T around Chisholm 11922 were and Delta streets, rrock and was the major ggravel, mainly because there shopping area. b were few The big store was w Lanning, Fawcett ccars. The main form of and Wilson on m transportation Chisholm Street, tr THE FORMER at that time which sold HOME OF THE was horses, everything from DELTA MUSEUM so there was clothing to groceries SERVED AS THE no immediate and claimed to MUNICIPAL HALL need for paved have “everything BACK IN 1922. roads. The necessary to furnish only road that the home.” Municipal hall was located in was paved was Trunk Road, the centre of the community, which was paved in 1920. A boardwalk was constructed at the corner of Delta and Bridge streets, in the building to allow residents to get around without being that housed the Delta

splashed by the horses, but it was torn down in 1925. For anyone wanting to travel to Vancouver or New Westminster, they could hitch a ride on the 40-car sternwheeler that plied the Fraser. Former Optimist owner and publisher Edgar Dunning once remarked in an interview that when this publication started, and for a good number of years afterward, those wanting to catch the Ladner ferry to get back home had to make sure they were right on time, or else they would have lengthy drive around the region. That happened to him on a few occasions. CONTINUED ON PAGE 34

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1922 - 2017

Tunnel changed everything CONTINUED FROM PAGE 33 The opening of the George Massey Tunnel in 1959 changed everything, ushering in era of rapid growth as Delta turned into a suburban bedroom community. Back in 1968, for example, 1,378 new single-family dwelling units were approved by Delta council, which would pave the way for somewhere in the neighbourhood of 5,000 new residents. It was almost entirely detached single-family, of course, as affordability wasn’t much of an issue when George Hodgins Realty was selling new homes in Sunny Tsawwassen from $29,000 to $59,000 – a far cry from the million-dollar price tag of

houses today. The introduction of the Agricultural Land Reserve in the 1970s drew boundaries around Delta’s three residential communities and put the brakes on development. Population growth has barely moved the needle in recent decades as Delta residents have been fiercely protective of a quality of life they hold dear. However, a ferry terminal, superport, new highways, burgeoning industrial areas, a pair of Tsawwassen First Nation shopping malls and plans for a $3.5-billion, 10-lane bridge to replace the tunnel have all contributed to an ever-busier place to call home.



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The Delta Optimist 95TH ANNIVERSARY

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1922 - 2017

Optimist’s look has changed over years The Optimist, as could be expected, has undergone many changes in design over its nine decades of existence. The evolution of Delta’s oldest community newspaper has mirrored both the industry and technological advancements. From broadsheet with no photographs and small headlines

to tabloid-size with could photographs and bold headlines, the Optimist certainly looks different today from its early years. The paper’s name has also been modified several times over the years. The following front page graphics show the newspaper’s evolution.

This Oct. 25, 1928 edition is typical of that era. The front page features display and classified ads, no photographs and small headlines.

Photographs are the most obvious change in this July 15, 1964 edition. This era’s front page features bolder headlines.

This July 10, 1947 edition still doesn’t include photographs, although ads have disappeared and headlines have become larger.

This Feb. 1, 1985 front page demonstrates a switch to a smaller tabloid format as well as the introduction of spot colour.

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Big stories from Optimist’s archives The Optimist has been there to chronicle all the big stories in Delta over the last 95 years. Below and on the following pages

Fire destroys Chinatown This story was originally printed in the Thursday, July 11, 1929 edition. Half of Ladner’s Chinatown was destroyed by fire at noon on Saturday last. A fire which started at the extreme end of a row of houses and shops along the waterfront drove through the whole line, and a width of a street and a vacant lot prevented it from spreading to the homes of white citizens near the city proper.

A strong west wind prevented the flames from catching any of the buildings on the other side. It was this west wind alone which prevented destruction of the great Imperial and Shell Oil tanks west of Ladner. Had the fire spread to these tanks, the resultant explosions would have set fire to the whole town. A low water pressure and the possibility of only using three lines of hose prevented the saving of scarcely anything in the buildings that were destroyed. These were all more than a generation old,

are some of the most newsworthy events in Delta straight from our archives.


A FIRE RIPPED THROUGH LADNER’S CHINATOWN IN THE SUMMER OF 1929. were of frame structure and formed part of a district which had been more or less an eyesore to the rest of Ladner. The total damage is

perhaps $10,000 with no insurance either with local firms or any other firm as far as The Optimist could ascertain.

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The Delta Optimist 95TH ANNIVERSARY

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1922 - 2017

Prime Minister King opens Boundary Bay Air Training School This story was originally published in the Thursday, July 3, 1941 edition. Praising the British Commonwealth Air Training Scheme, which he stated “is destined to become the decisive factor in the winning of this war against the Hun,” Prime Minister Mackenzie King, in opening the Boundary Bay Air Training School here on Wednesday afternoon, announced that “increasing numbers of Royal Canadian

Air Force Squadrons will soon be guarding the skies over Britain and thwarting the Lutwaffe.” He revealed that Air Minister C.G. Power flew to England this week to arrange for the dispatch of further Canadian Air Squadrons overseas. The prime minister’s address was heard by thousands who gathered from all parts of the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland, who witnessed the ceremonial march past of air force students, the formation flying of fifteen training planes, the aerobatics of three instructors from the school, and saw the prime minister cut the ribbon which officially opened the big school and sent two trim training planes off into the air. The prime minister’s arrival

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AIR FORCE PERSONNEL TRAINED AT BOUNDARY BAY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR. at No. 18, which is the largest elementary air training school in Canada, was preceded by public inspection of the buildings and hangar. Hundreds of people took advantage of the opportunity to see at first hand the living quarters, classrooms, recreation rooms, canteen, mess rooms and other

buildings which are part of an airman’s life at this school. Promptly at 3 o’clock the prime minister’s official car, followed by cars bearing members of the official party, drew up in the square formed by the crowd in front of the hangar, where a large reviewing platform had been built.


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95TH ANNIVERSARY The Delta Optimist


1922 - 2017

Queen in Delta to open Deas Island Tunnel, unveil plaques This story was originally printed in the Thursday, July 16, 1959 edition. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip spent an hour in Delta on Wednesday morning, during which the royal tour party drove almost the length of the municipality, opened the Deas Island Tunnel, unveiled two plaques and received 25 people. The Queen was welcomed by about 3,000 people at the Deas Island Tunnel, and small groups gathered at spots along the tour route to wave and cheer.

The party entered Delta at Scott and Townline roads, drove along Scott to No. 10 Highway, down Endersby Hill to Ladner Trunk Road and west through the farmlands and East Delta to the Fraser-Delta Thruway and along it to the tunnel. A crowd had gathered at Kennedy Heights to wave and cheer and at other intersections small groups were gathered. At Delta Private Hospital in East Delta, patients had been placed in chairs at the hospital entrance from Trunk Road and the Queen and Prince waved as the motorcade sped by. Premier Bennett and Mrs. Bennett were the first to greet the royal couple when they arrived at the south entrance to officially open

the new $21,000,000 tunnel. Premier Bennett then presented them to Highways Minster Philip Gaglardi and Mrs. Gaglardi, Reeve J.W. Kirkland and Mrs. Kirkland of Delta and Reeve John Stolberg of Richmond, and Mrs. Stolberg. Elizabeth and Philip were also introduced to Bishop Godfrey P. Gower of New Westminster and Mrs. Gower, Governor Albert Rosellini of Washington state, Morton LarsenNeilson of Copenhagen, senior techincal director of Christiani and Nielsen, and Per Hall, Montreal, president of Fountain of Canada Corporation Ltd. Others who were presented included O.H. Bentzen, who supervised construction of the tunnel; Burke Corbet,

QUEEN ELIZABETH CUT A RIBBON TO OPEN THE TUNNEL WITH HELP FROM PREMIER W.A.C. BENNETT. who worked on design and construction; and Peter Kiewit, head of Peter Kiewit Sons Co. of Canada,


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1922 - 2017

Officer slain in line of duty This story was originally printed in the Wednesday, Nov. 6, 1974 edition. A shroud of mystery still surrounds the dramatic escape to Vancouver of the alleged killer of Delta police Staff-Sergeant Ronald Edward McKay. It is believed he fled from the rear door of a neat, modern bungalow just moments after the fatal shotgun blast ripped into the 17-year veteran of the Delta Municipal Police, killing him almost instantaneously. Reliable sources, including police, speculate that the killer beat his way through foggy fields and bush behind the house at 278-56th Street,

just a few blocks from the U.S. border, and made it to the Boundary Bay area. From there it is not yet known how the man found transportation and eluded a spider web of roadblocks quickly sealing off South Delta. Hitchhiking had not, at press time, been ruled out. A man, accompanied by his lawyer, turned himself in at the Vancouver City police station about six hours after the shooting. Charged Monday with murder punishable by death when he appeared briefly before Judge Nick Friesen in Delta provincial court was Ellery Steven Long, 29, of 278-56th Street, Tsawwassen. The accused, a heavy-set man with dark eyes and disheveled shoulder length hair, did not wince as the

charge was read out. He was remanded to December 16 for a preliminary hearing into the charge. The charge was drawn up by Regional Prosecutor Al Cliffe, a Tsawwassen lawyer who is senior prosecutor for South Fraser District. Delta police said that shortly before the Saturday night shooting, Staff-Sgt. McKay, who was 47, went to the aid of two constables at the Shell Service Station at 16th Ave and 56th St. They had been called by employees who said a motorist with two young passengers was harassing an older couple in another car. Police said the call came from the service station at 6:18 p.m. John Holmes, manager of the station, had just gone home for the day.

Quality service always comes first!

DELTA POLICE OFFICER RONALD MCKAY WAS FATALLY SHOT IN TSAWWASSEN IN 1974. When contracted by the Optimist, Holmes described the disturbance as “minor.” He added charges would probably be laid in connection with the incident.

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& 95TH ANNIVERSARY The Delta Optimist



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The Delta Optimist 95TH ANNIVERSARY

1922 - 2017

Council shoots down TDL plan This story was originally printed in the Wednesday, Aug. 9, 1989 edition. An 11th hour request by Tsawwassen Developments Ltd. to withdraw its housing proposal did not succeed last night as an insistent Delta council sunk the plan once and for all. Set on providing the community with a final answer on the 100-day Southlands controversy, council shot down the Boundary Bay rezoning application by an unanimous vote. Before an overflow crowd at the South Delta Recreation Centre, council members

took turns attacking both the 1,900-home plan and the company’s last minute withdrawal plea. “I don’t think I’ve sat at the council table more angry than I am tonight,” said Ald. Lois Jackson. “We’ve all been waiting for this day and I’m not going to let the developers take that away from us.” “I couldn’t possibly believe it. What the hell is going on? (The developer) must be out of his cotton pickin’ skull,” added Ald. Shell Busey. “I’ll see the indignation and raise it some,” joked Ald. Bruce McDonald, who made the motion to deny TDL’s withdrawal request. TDL proposed to construct 1,895 homes, an 18-hole golf course, a 250-room hotel and a 220-acre regional park on

A PLEBISCITE ON THE CONTROVERSIAL TDL DEVELOPMENT SAW MORE THAN 90 PER CENT OF TSAWWASSEN VOTERS REGISTER THEIR OPPOSITION. its 758-acre site in Boundary Bay. The proposal was debated at a 25-session public hearing that lasted from May 1 to July 17. Over 400 speakers were heard and 3,700 written submissions received.

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TDL project manager Norm Couttie said the withdrawal request was a direct result of federal Environment Minister Lucien Bouchard’s suggestion for a moratorium on development around Boundary Bay.

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95TH ANNIVERSARY The Delta Optimist


1922 - 2017

TFN’s historic agreement This story was originally printed in the Saturday, Dec. 9, 2006 edition. The Tsawwassen First Nation and the provincial and federal governments initialed a treaty agreement yesterday that will be a major blueprint for change in Delta. Native drummers and singers led dignitaries, elders and children into the band’s longhouse, where nearly 300 people gathered to witness the historic event. Chief Kim Baird was joined by Premier Gordon Campbell, federal Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice, provincial Aboriginal Affairs Minister Mike de Jong

and Delta South MLA Val Roddick. Baird called it an historic day, one she and the 163 people living on the reserve have waited for for a long time. The treaty is estimated to be worth over $120 million, roughly $440,000 per member. The number of registered members, according to the federal government, is 270. “It’s a very good deal and it will be a dramatic shift from where we are now under the Indian Act to a post-treaty world,” Baird said. The treaty will turn over 434 hectares (1,072 acres), including the automatic removal of 207 hectares (511 acres) from the Agricultural Land Reserve, an extremely controversial component. Baird indicated there would

TSAWWASSEN FIRST NATION CHIEF KIM BAIRD (CENTRE) INITIALED THE TREATY IN A CEREMONY. be no treaty without freeing up a good chunk of land from the reserve. “I think it’s the only type of change that will promote meaningful benefits to my community to overcome the barriers we face now economically, socially and

otherwise. I think the treaty has the tools we need to rebuild our community,” she said. “I’m very excited at the prospect of getting on to the development work but we have a ways to go before we get there.”

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The Delta Optimist 95TH ANNIVERSARY

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95th Anniversary